Holy Cross Catholic Church
A Church was needed, so plans were drawn up by Dean Hawes. Stone quarried from the farms of T Neagle and G Agar was carted by Messrs Hancock, Regan and Hall. Mr Bill Owman was the builder, and with Dean Hawes’s supervision, the foundation stone was laid by the Bishop of Geraldton, J P O’Collins, on December 18, 1932, on Lot 150 Davis Street, Morawa.
Mr Thomas Leo Bradley became the Secretary for the Parish. With the help of M Neagle, M White, T Bradley, N Gill, C Cole, G White, S Valentine, J Powell, T Kramer and P Haddock and families. It is certain we shall never know the many fund raising raffles, picnics, dances and other functions which were held to culminate in the opening of the Church.
Dean Hawes built the Hermitage (or Presbytery) in 1933, as his residence. This little building is distinct and stands adjacent to the Church.
A small pedal organ had been purchased and a choir comprising Mr Peter Haddock, Mrs V Francis, Mrs Molly White, Mrs Nora Powell and Mrs M Neagle, with Mrs Monty White as organist practised regularly at Mrs Monty White’s home. Masses composed by Dom Moreno were sung. It was at one of the choir practices on the 1st June 1933 that the new church linen was viewed. The kind donor was Mother Vincent O.P. on behalf of the Dongard Dominican Convent.
On 2nd July 1933, the Church was opened by Bishop J.P. O’Collins. There were two masses celebrated, the first for the Committee who had catered for 130 guests, and capably managed when a further 100 appeared. The banquet was held in the old Morawa Hall and help was given by many people, no matter what religion was followed.
Following the close of the second World War, many displaced persons and their families came from the Baltic States to our district, as interim settlers. They were delighted when Mrs N Gill arranged for a Polish priest, Fr Dzieciol, to a visit in 1953 and say Mass in Polish, followed by a meal and happy conversation.
The parishioners, meantime, were working towards the establishment of a Convent and School, so a cropping programme was introduced. With Fr Bryan’s guidance, architects were consulted, bricks were carted by the menfolk, from the Irwin brickworks and building began.
The welcome to the Domenican Sisters, and the opening of the Morawa Convent and School buildings was given by the Rev A.J. Gummer, Bishop of Geraldton, on the 27th March 1955. The Domenican Sisters celebrated their Silver Jubilee in Morawa in 1980, and their value over the years in our community could not be measured.
With the advent of iron ore mining in Morawa, it became clear that the Church was too small for the population. Mons. Bryan and Mr A Roach acted as principal Contractors and again with the parishioners and W.M.C. help, additions were added to seat 250 persons. The stone was from the original quarry, with Toodyay stone for the Sanctuary. The opening ceremony conducted by Bishop F.X. Thomas was held on 26th June 1966.
The Holy Cross Church was consecrated on Sunday 24th October 1976. Bishop J P O’Collins returned from Ballarat for the occasion and assisted Bishop F X Thomas in the consecrated Mass.
- Rt. Rev. Mons Hawes
- Fr. Augustine – S.A.C
- Fr. Lynch
- Fr. Albert – S.A.C
- Fr. Leo – S.A.C
- Fr. Girke – S.A.C
- Fr. Wellems – S.A.C
- Rt.Rev. Mons Bryan
- Fr. M O’Flaherty
- Fr. T Smith
- Fr. T Manley
- Fr. E Jarcov
- Fr. B Van Der Geest
- Fr. P Downes